Leaning Fence Post (vinyl)

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Old 03-15-08, 03:06 PM
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Leaning Fence Post (vinyl)

Hello

Due to wind storm, several fence posts are leaning ( this wind storm also caused one of them to completely break.

The posts are installed with a cement base and the soil around them is wet (after winter and alot of rain). I can move some of the dirt around them and push them back to plum - but how do keep them plum I did this a year or so ago and added some quickcrete in the space that left open -but that does not seem to be enough.

What do I have to do - do I need to dig a bigger hole and add more cement - remove the post and existing cement and start over?

Any suggestions appreciated.
 
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Old 03-16-08, 05:08 AM
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Hi and Welcome!

Do you live in a cold weather state? How deep are your posts buried? how much concrete did you use? Are the vinyl posts reinforced with wood or metal? We need a little more information, please.
 
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Old 03-16-08, 11:13 AM
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Loose Posts

Bring the posts to plumb and use a 4-foot long 2x2 to pack the dirt firmly around the posts. Remove some of the dirt before beginning the "tamping" processs. Add about 6 inches of loose dirt and pack thoroughly. Repeat until you have worked up to grade level. No reasonable amount of concrete will solve your problem in loose soil.
 
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Old 03-16-08, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by connie View Post
Do you live in a cold weather state? How deep are your posts buried? how much concrete did you use? Are the vinyl posts reinforced with wood or metal? We need a little more information, please.
Sorry -- I live in Western PA (Pittsburgh) so it is cold weather state. The posts are in the ground about 2 feet - (6 ft fence and 8ft posts). The fence was professionally installed (that only means I paid someone). They used an auger to drill the holes and then there is some cement around the posts - probably not more that 2 inches on each side. The posts are about 5 inches. The posts are not reinforced - they are hollow. Not ideal - but you get smarter the older you get.
 
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Old 03-17-08, 04:37 PM
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Hi,

I'm sure wirepuller is correct about straightening the posts, but I think the posts should have a 4x4 or a metal shank for strength. I have some four foot vinyl posts and I used 6 foot pt. 4x4's. I cut an angle on the wooden pt.4x4, soaked the cut ends in wood preservative, dug the hole 2 feet, pounded in the post, plumbed the wood, added the concrete, backfilled 3/4 full, slipped the vinyl over the wood, finished backfill and tamped.

We're in Northern Virginia, and get quite a lot of frost heave, plus have clay soil that just soaks up the water and takes forever to dry. The posts have been in the ground 4 years and are still perfect.
 
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Old 03-19-08, 08:42 PM
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jmcst24,

Welcome to DoItYourself.com and the Fence Forum.

If the posts blew over in the wind and they were contractor installed, call the contractor!! He blew it on the installation. THAT is why you paid to have it installed by a pro.

If the wind blew the fence over, it must be a panel (or privacy) fence, not a rail fence.

They used 5" posts -- how large are the holes??

A 5" vinyl post measures 6-3/4" diagonally corner to corner. If they used an 8" auger and got the posts were centered PERFECTLY in the holes, you would have about 5/8" of concrete at the corners. That ain't gonna hold SQUAWT!!

They should have used AT LEAST a 12" auger to drill the holes.

Reinforcing vinyl fence posts can only be done with a steel pipe embedded in the footing. The holes for the bottom rail in a privacy fence are cut right at ground level, so you can't fill them with concrete. In rail fences, the bottom hole is about a foot above the ground. You can only fill the post to the bottom of the bottom rail hole, otherwise you'll never get the bottom rail in, and the concrete would just ooze out at the bottom hole anyway.
 
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Old 03-20-08, 06:50 AM
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jmcst24,

lefty and wirepuller are the pros, so I'm sure they gave you the best advice. The pt.post inserts have worked for me, but I am sure steel would be the more permanent solution.

How long since your fence was installed? Do you have a signed contract with the contractor? What does the warranty state?
 
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Old 03-20-08, 06:52 PM
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My experience has been that using a PT 4X4 post doesn't leave you enough room inside the vinyl post to slide the rail in far enough to allow the notch to catch the inside of the post. That notch is what keeps the rail from sliding out of the post. That can be gotten around by putting a screw at each end of the rail once it's installed so that it can't slide in either direction, but that's a lot of extra screwing.

Using 1-7/8" steel posts leaves enough space inside the vinyl to allow the rails to be slipped in deep enough for the notch to catch the inside of the vinyl post and eliminates the need for the screws.
 
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Old 03-21-08, 03:15 AM
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Thanks, Lefty, for the clarification.

My posts don't use split rail, but rather a panel that mounts with brackets. I did not realize there would be a difference. I appreciate the information.

Connie
 
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Old 07-28-08, 12:43 PM
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ALL FENCE POSTS ARE 4x4 MANY OF WHICH ARE LEANING. I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT A 2-3 FOOT WEDGED 4X4 PLACED AGAINST THE POST AND DRIVEN INTO THE GROUND WILL DO THE JOB. I'M NOT SO SURE. ANY ADVICE?
 
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Old 07-28-08, 01:07 PM
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cnsjjc,

welcome to the forums.

If you have posts that are leaning, they wern't set properly. Probably not deep enough, and probably don't have concrete collars around them.

I doubt that wedges driven into the ground will do a thing to straighten the posts.

BEST solution would be to reset the posts that are leaning(deeper & with concrete collars). Anything else is a temporary fix and they'll just lean again.

(Please don't use all caps -- it's too hard to read, and some people consider it to be shouting.)
 
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Old 07-28-08, 01:36 PM
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Sorry about the CAPs. I'm sure that the posts were not properly set when the fence was installed. It would be a huge task to remove and reset them all. They come with a property I recently acquired and its obvious they were not set deep enough and/or that enough properly mixed concrete was not used. I might still try the wedge idea with a few of the posts.
 
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Old 07-28-08, 07:32 PM
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Cnsjjc;

Everyone that has typed their own piece of advice has typed pretty much what you need to do. The wedge idea.... it will damage your posts. You will try to slam those wedges in and your posts will crack. Once the posts crack, you can kiss that fence goodbye on your typical windy day.
It would only be advice, as advice is all any of can do, especially our being so far away.
For one, like Lefty said... call the contractor. They should fess up to a bad installation and just come back to do the repair. For them it is only their time.... and perhaps a few hundred lbs of cement. For you to repair it yourself... well once you do that you no longer have the option of calling the contractor back to do a repair on top of your repair if need be.

Ok , Assuming that you have already taken Lefty's advice and you still have no repair completed by anyone....
My advice would be to combine most of these posts together into one job.
Begining by digging around the posts... Do only one or two at a time. Do not dig around all the posts at once. Take it easy..
Dig around each post until you go down about half the distance of whatever amount of the post is in the ground. If the posts are only in 2 feet, go down about 12 inches. Then, tamp those posts in . Tamp the soil , creating a level post front to back. If need be, use props to keep the fence posts level.
After you level the post , Cement the post.
Keep in mind you should have a minimum of 12 inches diameter hole for a 5 inch square post.
You should cement as much as possible. Do not just backfill the hole with soil ,rocks or anything else. That will not help matters at all.
Using Quickrete is good. You do not have to use a fast setting cement. Doing so will make you work faster to beat the time it takes for the cement to cure.. Doing so will make you make mistakes.... Ones that you do not need to make.
Plus fast setting cement costs considerably more per 80 lb bag.
Do not take the props off until the cement has cured. A day or two later would be best.

Like I said, do only one post at a time.. Doing more than one will make sure your fence will come down in the first wind while you are working.

The inserts, inside the posts... will only help stop the posts from bowing over from the bases of concrete to the top of the post. But this situation sounds like the entire post, concrete base and all is what is moving ... Not the post bending.

Oh and by the way.... Most 6' high , x 8' long sections of PVC are installed with 9' Long posts. Most, not all... But this job would have been much more secure if it had that extra foot in the ground.
If the post was an 8' r.. and the section is 6' tall,,,, plus there is a 2" gap between the top of the section and the very top of the post... Plus there is more than likely a space from the bottom of the bottom rail to the soil line... More than likely your posts are only in the ground 18-20 or so inches.
That is way too shallow for any 6 foot high fence.. No matter what the material. With PVC, something that is pliable in the summer months and fragile in the winter months,,, those factors make matters even worse.

I hope this helps.

Let us know in the end..

Greg~
 
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Old 07-28-08, 08:16 PM
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Greg: Thanks for the advice. I'm sure you're right but being an 80 year old retiree with about 40 4x4 posts (of which 13-14 are leaning) I think I will just ignore the problem. No contractor was involved in building the fence - it was built one of several previous do-it-yourself home owners. We bought the property as a "retirement" home, but it has turned out to be a very high maintenance property with several large flower beds, 2 Koi ponds etc etc. I think I may have to hire a contractor to fix the fence, and a gardener to mow the lawn and tend the flower beds. As you probably know, it is hard to find good contractors and good gardeners - also very expensive. I can do my own plumbing and carpentry. Thanks again for your advice.
 
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Old 07-29-08, 01:09 AM
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It being heard that someone has a hard time finding a good contractor, whether it be fencing,gardener or even a woodworker is actually a good thing . It is a good thing to hear especially as I believe I am one of the guys that care more for the customer than so many others out there.
Still , that does not make me the master fence installer. It just means that I care about my work . And it means that I have a better than average work ethic.
The other contractors that care are certainly out there. All you need to do is look through the pile.
Base your ideals on the contractors portfolio.... Find out who he/she has done jobs for and investigate their outcome.
Check out the company name on the internet as well as the the local BBB. If you find nothing that is bad about the company you may be choosing, keep in mind that does not mean they are the best at their job.
Feel them out and take a chance based on your investigation.
keep in mind that price is not everything even though it helps.
The cheapest contractor is not always the best, and the most expensive one is not either.
Interview more than one , less than 10. After listening to at least 2 contractors tell you how they will repair the job, by the third contractor you will know most there is to know about how to fix your fence.
I hope it all works out for you . I really do.

Good Luck, and feel free to come back again with more on this topic.

Greg~
 
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